When you are looking to grow your business and have long-term viability, you need to ensure that your business is showing up in Google Maps. Adding Google Maps into your marketing strategies can boost your local business and increase your online presence on search engines.
Most prospective customers will be skeptical of businesses with little or no online presence.
Fortunately for your business, Google Maps provide one of the easiest and fastest ways to get onto the Google Search Results page.
Business owners now have an opportunity to market their goods and services in real-time to anyone with a mobile device. Which is beneficial to local businesses. Let’s start with the basics of optimizing your Google Maps.
What Is Google Maps Marketing?
Google Maps marketing is simply the optimization of your local business presence on Google Maps.
The goal is to rank higher in search, you have an opportunity to significantly increase your business when using Google Maps marketing.
The better your profile is optimized, the higher your chances are for showing up in a Google Maps search for your business genre in your area.
Why Is Google Maps Marketing So Important?
There are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google and account for nearly 88% of all mobile searches. Consumers using local Google searches, 76% of those searching for local products visiting a store within the day.
Marketing on Google Maps will impact the way Google views your business. It will also have an impact on whether or not it appears in organic search in what is known as the local 3-pack.
Google Map results, local 3-pack, will appear at the top of the page in the Google Search.
Google Maps can channel thousands of potential customers towards your business.
Unfortunately, unless your business ranks in the 3-pack, your chance of being found is exponentially lower. This is why Google Maps Marketing is generally considered the most important facet of local SEO work.
Setting Up Your Google My Business (GMB)
Creating a Google My Business (GMB) listing is totally free. Because GMB is not an advertisement, technically and you are only letting Google know your business exists, it is able to offer this service free.
Ultimately, the end goal is to get your business to rank higher than your competitors.
Setting Up Your GMB
To set up your Google My Business listing:
- Sign in to Google and go to https://www.google.com/business/
- Locate or create a listing for your business. Sometimes other factors or inputs have led to an impromptu assumption listing about your business. You will want to make sure you claim and correct it if that happened.
- Fill out all of the information that you are able to.
- Make sure to select the correct category and products or services.
- Add contact information including your website url.
- Verify your account. This can be done with Google via phone, email, or traditional mail.
- Add high-quality photos.
- Of course, double-check all of your information.
How To Rank Higher On Google Maps
A number of factors go into deciding how your Google Maps account ranks in results. The geographic distance from the person conducting the search and the business category relevant to their search is the most obvious ranking factors.
Perhaps the most important factor is how complete and accurate your GMB listing is. This could be the tie-breaker among you and your competitors in determining who appears in the search.
Finally, positive reviews can be the deciding factor. So you will want to make sure that you ask for Google reviews of your services.
The Importance of Good Reviews
Many companies have systems already in place around cultivating positive reviews. Some companies will ask customers directly, at the conclusion of a transaction, to give them a review.
Whereas other businesses put a request for a review after checkout. Some even have used QR codes.
In all of your promotional materials, it’s a good business practice to provide a link for customers to leave a Google review. Whether you are handing them a thank you business card, thank you for an email, or a promotional item (air fresheners), you should always include a link to your business page.
Handling Negative Reviews
Handle bad reviews calmly and professionally. You should constantly be working hard to overcome them with more good reviews. But occasionally one will come through.
When you get a bad review, apologize, accept responsibility and offer to make it right. This is especially important to understand that even if it wasn’t your fault, make it right.
It’s a losing proposition to get defensive or aggressive in your reply. A bad review gives you the chance to demonstrate your professionalism by helping to mitigate any potential damage.
You should never have an argument via the internet. Apologize and accept responsibility via the internet but offer to make it right if they contact you offline or in a private message. But remember, a private message can easily be shared, so keep everything professional.
Posting On Google As Your Business
This is an underused feature, so start using it now. Business owners can “publish … offers, events, products, and services directly to Google Search and maps.”
This can be another effective way to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Checklist: Google Maps Optimization
- To give your business a better chance of showing up for relevant searches in Google Maps, just follow the checklist below.
- Claim or create a listing for your business.
- Fill out all of the information:
- Correct service area and address.
- Business hours/workdays.
- Website / URL for them to make a purchase.
- List your specific offerings. Clearly and simply.
- Add keywords in naturally when possible.
- Pick the most relevant and common categories for your business type.
- Ensure all your information is consistent across the web.
- Add high-quality photos that are relevant.
- Double-check all of your information.
- Cultivate good reviews by asking for reviews.
- List your business in other directories throughout the web.
- Use Google analytics to adapt your strategies.
Paid Advertising & Local Search Ads
Google provides you with the tools to target your local area with local search ads.
This is paid advertising, which can help you appear at the top of the Google search page or Map App when someone searches for your relevant services. When it comes to paid search, you can set up campaigns based on your goal, whether it is impressions, click throughs, conversion.
If you are struggling to bring in customers and can’t wait for your organic efforts to pay off, you may want to consider paid advertising. You can search “paid advertising companies near me” to find one in your local area, or reach out to Blue Water Marketing to help create a great PPC
Many businesses have had great success in employing local search ads on Google. It can be the perfect complement to organic marketing efforts.
Tracking Your Performance
Tracking your performance on Google Maps is done via analytics offered with your Google My Business account. Any pay-per-click, PPC, campaign can be tracked in Google Ads and Google Analytics.
This is necessary for evaluating your current web presence and optimizing it, moving forward. Depending on your objectives, what you are tracking can differ from campaign to campaign and even on your website analytics.
Where Your Customers View You
Knowing the frequency that you are being found on general search vs map listings, is crucial to the success of your business.
Taken in conjunction with the first metric you can gauge the general success of your Google Map Listings in attracting new customers.
As you make changes, monitor these stats to ensure you are making the right decisions and moving in a positive direction.
Google Services That Customers Use To Find Your Business
A metric that is important to pay attention to is the type of searches that lead a consumer to your website. This will let you know the volume of users that are searching for you by name, vs those discovering you via the keywords relevant to your brand, location, and industry.
Knowing if they are organic or paid traffic can help you to continue to grow your brand presence on Google Maps. This may help you gauge the percentage of new versus repeat customers coming to your site via Google.
“Customer actions” will show you what actions people are taking in response to your listing, as well as what they are not. You will discover whether or not your listing is helping people find your location, your website, or leading to some form of contact.
As you start to optimize your listing, you will want to keep a close eye on this metric. This is perhaps the most important metric for your listing. Working to improve customer engagements and interactions is your best path to success, especially if they will leave a review.
The Performance of Your Photos
“Photo views and Photo quantity” shows how your photos are performing as compared to your competition. It will also provide data to show photos you have posted versus your customers.
Most people react positively to appealing visuals, so take the time to capture the best possible photos of your business. Of course, when asking for someone to do a review you can ask them to include a photo in their review!
While getting the basics right is simple enough, fine-tuning will set you apart from the competition. Pay attention to your analytics, keep your information up to date, maintain positive customer reviews, and always present your photos with professionalism.
Need help setting up your Google Maps marketing? Contact the digital marketers at Blue Water Marketing to set up a consultation to see how they can help you stand out from the competition.